Lower Nazareth Township's population may grow by about 700 residents. But first, township officials must approve a proposed development -- about 500 apartments, a clubhouse and a pool -- near the county's Louise Moore Park.
Martin Gilchrist, representing Urban Research & Development Corp., presented a preliminary plan Wednesday to the Lower Nazareth Board of Supervisors.
Gilchrist's presentation was for informational purposes only. No decisions were made.
According to Gilchrist, the proposed residential development off Hecktown Road -- not far from the Country Club Road intersection -- includes 496 upscale apartments on 40 acres. The development, he added, will be built around 10 acres already set aside for an office and business complex.
“My concern is that Louise Moore County Park would have 500 new housing units next to it,” said Supervisor Gerald Green, adding he felt Northampton County representatives and nearby residents should be involved in the planning process.
The property, which is near the borders of Bethlehem and Palmer townships, is surrounded by light industrial to the east, suburban residential to the west, an agricultural district to the north and Louise Moore County Park to the south.
Gilchrist agreed to loop in residents and the county, but also noted the plan includes more than 25 percent of designated "green space." This space will be transformed into passive recreation areas and pedestrian trails, three of which will connect to the 125-acre Louise Moore Park.
A 530-foot setback near Hecktown Road is also planned, Gilchrist explained, to retain the character of the surrounding rural area, in addition to serving as a buffer, wildlife habitat and groundwater recharge.
There will be four access points: two on Hecktown Road and two on Country Club Road. The main entrance on Hecktown Road will be a curved drive that leads to a clubhouse and pool. The drive then continues toward the residential area, Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist described the project as "high-end construction." The apartments will be visually inviting with steep roofs, gables and dormers, as well as extensive landscaping and trees.
The two-story apartments -- 248 one-bedroom units and 248 two-bedroom units -- will house a diverse population (all approximate):
- 222 retired residents
- 91 empty nesters
- 296 young professionals
- 55 school age
- 37 preschool residents
The fiscal impact of the proposed project, Gilchrist continued:
- $150,000/year to Lower Nazareth Township
- $513,000/year to Nazareth Area School District
- $75,000/year to Northampton County
- $744,000 recreation impact fees
- $464,000 traffic impact fees
- $1,240,000 impact contingency to be used at Lower Nazareth Township's discretion
All roads and utilities within the development, including snow removal, will be privately maintained, according to Gilchrist.
The Board of Supervisors approved a motion to refer the project to the township's Planning Commission for comments.